There is a small distance between joy and despair. One may be exquisitely happy in a moment, and the next full of crushing, dark anguish, with but the smallest of catalysts to create the change. Is this just a question of perception? I think not. Maybe the balance between opposites is easier destroyed, the greater the distance between the endpoints. Failure can replace triumph with a mere slip of a hand. Love may transform into hate with a single word. I have often pondered this anachronism, but cannot reconcile in my mind why this may be. I recently became the catalyst for change and it took its form within me. This at least makes sense now.
The Easter lesson of sacrifice and redemption is something I have long acknowledged, and I can recognise my own failure in its truth. Not for me the travails of our Lord and his rising to the feet of his Father, nor the joy of salvation felt by his apostles, but in its stead, the calamity of my betrayal. I find myself in the role of Judas, mistakenly thinking I was acting in good faith. Instead, my actions have bought shame to myself and despair to all whom I love.
An explanation of the truth of this will reveal the selfishness of my actions, where I thought it was selflessness that drove me. The arrogance of my spirit was clear to all but me, who, believing that chance was on my side, wagered with the devil. Ignoring science, ignoring sense, ignoring rules, I saw my mother. She was frail, but no closer to her maker than many of us. I lied to her; I lied to her carers; I lied to myself. “Of course I bring no unwelcome visitors,” I said. “Only a loving son who wishes to see you and hug you after all this time!” She was so happy. She believed me as only a mother can. I filled myself with the gift of her love, her touch, her spirit, and she filled herself with my gift of the virus. How could I have been so stupid, so careless? There is no-one to roll back the stone of her tomb, no resurrection and redemption for us to behold, only an empty vessel full of guilt and regret.
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